We are just back from our networking and educational experience at the Summit on Customer Engagement (SCE19). Putting a little tiredness aside from the 22-hour return trip to San Francisco and jet lag, we couldn’t wait to share a round-up of what our team took away.
The big picture theme for 2019 was Co-Create.
Across the sessions we explored many highly familiar and hard-hitting issues from strategic and deep dive perspectives:
- We heard about the broken customer experience across organizations.
- We picked up some great best practice lists which help power company growth through advocacy communities and customer engagement on a strategic level.
- We attended a superbly engaging workshop with Mark Levy on how to uncover our proud moments, how our role stereotypes can work to our advantage and how to position ourselves, and by extension, our programs, in a meaningful, and above all else, personal way.
But what stood out most for us - throughout all the workshops, presentations and breaks in between - was our belonging to a community. That there are people going through the exact same problems as us, solving challenges like we do on a daily basis, along with the inspiring exchanges of insight and aha moments that enriched every break and the happy hours.
Yet, despite all being involved in building advocate communities and bringing our customers together as part of our jobs, we've realized that, as professionals in the advocacy area, we don't meet often enough and we aren’t talking enough with our global colleagues. We feel that we want to be able to exchange ideas and thoughts more often together. Maybe even daily?
For example, it was extremely inspiring to hear that lately, advocacy professionals are stepping into a space of their own. The recently launched Institute of Certified Customer Advocacy Professionals (ICCAP) provides formal attestation, adding an extra level of legitimacy to our field. We’re excited about the institute’s mission and plans to institutionalize our industry standards and to empower our customer advocacy profession. I for one, look forward to keeping track of their progress to making that a reality.
What’s even more exciting is that advocacy professionals are becoming a truly integral part of their organizations. More and more, we’re hearing that customer advocacy, reference and evidence activities are no longer being treated as a small part of the marketing department. Instead, our work is gaining ground, and being recognised as a power engine for company growth and the foundation for major scale up efforts. We’re also hearing about how organizations have restructured to integrate advocacy and reference into their sales and marketing operations, not simply a part of it, but as the underlying force.
Meanwhile, we’ve been able to learn best practices from programs that are tailored to the top management goals and how this all supports go-to-market motions. Likewise, we’ve witnessed the majestic achievements when sales people come to the table and work hand-in-hand with advocacy teams. The results are truly amazing. The boost in revenue even more so!
Throughout the entire Summit, I kept thinking, if only we could keep these conversations going. How much easier would it be to grow and scale, when you can test your ideas, brainstorm with others in your field, learn from those who have gone through the same, and why not? even find a mentor.
So, here’s to seeing each other again, and to many more fascinating and useful chats. You can count on us to be at the end of an email, phone and attending more conferences like the SCE! At the end of the day, for us, it’s all about creating and promoting the valuable connections between people in enriching our exciting advocacy field.